John Paul Jones Arena Opens It's Doors

By: Autria Godfrey
By: Autria Godfrey

July 22, 2006

The Cavaliers have a new home and they want residents to see it.
The John Paul Jones Arena held an open house on Saturday to give people a chance to come tour the new facility

Close to 12,000 people made there way to the arena today to check out the latest addition to the University of Virginia. They were able to hang out with the cheerleaders and Cav Man, enjoy free drinks and food, and took a tour of the complex

If you think Charlottesville residents were the only ones soaking up the excitement, you'd be wrong.

"Having visited a lot of colleges because I do college consulting, and feeling particularly close to the University of Colorado at Boulder, this is sensational. We don't have anything to compare to it," said Shirley Darling.

Organizers had a dozen different vendors on hand to offer everything from face painting for the children to chances to win tickets to some of the upcoming concerts and shows. Despite the years of hard work to make Saturday possible, the staff says this is just a glimpse of how excited they too are about the upcoming year.

"To see the looks on the faces of the people that are here and to know that just about everybody in Charlottesville has come through here today, it's truly a really good feeling," Craig Littlepage, Director of UVa Athletics, said.

After having a good four hours to tour the facility, one feature really grabbed the attention of the kids...the technology.

And it's not just the kids that are in awe, one new resident feels this new addition rivals that of "The Big Apple."

"We just moved here from new york and i have to tell you that Madison Square Garden has nothing on this arena," Robin Hoffman said.

The arena has been close to six years in the making and will be christened on August 1st as Cirque du Soleil takes to the stage. For the major sports fans, directors of the arena said it may not be too much longer before we see the NCAA first and second round games held here.

In addition to Cirque du Soleil, the arena will also be the venue for upcoming acts like James Taylor, World Wrestling Entertainment and Kenny Chesney.

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